Kerrison Media

John Kerrison on media, news and the digital disruption

Everyone has a story

Mine goes something like this. 

In 1992 at age 18 I waited for the postman. My Tertiary Entrance Rank arrived in a crisp, white envelope and it read 55 out of 100. I was disappointed but not surprised. My story starts with a lot of numbers which is ironic. I don’t like them. I had bombed at school so I went to work in the mail room at AMP General Insurance. 

But it gets better. An inspiring manager at AMP, Genevieve Vignes, suggested I head off to university as a mature age student. I packed my bags and went to Bathurst to study broadcast journalism. 

My first job in journalism was with Prime Television in Orange as a reporter and then local newsreader. So many powerful stories spring to mind across that four years but it was one job on a weekend in Summer that I’ll never forget. I was asked at the last minute to wear the Prime Possum costume at the Central West pet expo. The receptionist who normally had the starring role was sick. Just smile and wave they said. The suit had a huge tail and colleagues forgot to warn me not to turn around quickly when greeting the toddlers. Carnage.

I moved to Adelaide to work for the ABC (not because of the Possum suit, thanks). I fell in love with hot summers and how the sun would set over Henley Beach and paint the sand and seaside cafes in a gold hue. I joined Nine News in Adelaide before making the big switch to Nine in Sydney in 2008. I miss Adelaide but I was happy to be going home.

Nine News

Nine News was an adventure: I covered courts and learned to have a thick skin. I was faced with so many heart-wrenching stories of broken lives and bad decisions. Politics was better, and a three month stint in Canberra meant learning from the best: Laurie Oakes.

I completed my MA in Organisational Communication in 2009. Again, I chose Charles Sturt University because it meant I could visit the rolling plains of the Central West. 

I discovered social media around the same time I moved to Sky News. The reporting changed, and most of the work was now in a studio. I presented Technology Behind Business and Business Night, but I was growing interested in what social media and communication would mean for the wider media landscape. 

Social Media

In 2012 I made the big decision to leave the studio and walk back into an office. Transport for NSW took in this refugee reporter and gave me a mammoth task: building the agency’s first social media strategy, policies, content plans and employing two teams to help deliver it all!

I could include swathes of text about running but I won’t. I joined the LGBTQ Sydney Frontrunners running club and in November 2015 I ran the New York Marathon. I’m now co-president of the running club and a passionate advocate for queer representation and diversity. 

Service NSW

All the pieces of the puzzle have started to fall into place. I joined Service NSW in 2017 and I’ll go into 2019 as Director of Communication. This agency hums like a well oiled machine because its people are so passionate about customers and giving them great access to government services.

My story isn’t over but let me finish here with more numbers. I have 15 years of communication experience, 23 running medals on a display hook on my wall, I work with a wonderful team of 12, and I have one moment. This moment. It’s the power to determine where the story goes next. 

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